Sunday, December 30, 2007

another year, another blog entry

i think i have recovered from our christmas. there was little sleep, but everyone seemed to get along this year (for the most part - i had a hand in my small cousin's annual crying when i frustratedly told her to stop yelling at me to pay attention when we were playing capture the flag. dude. she's 9, she's getting too old for this behavior. time to get a thicker skin). for some reason i got one of those backpacks with a water compartment as a gift - apparently my cousin thought it was "so me." i don't know where they got that idea; i barely like hiking. ah well - it is pretty nifty, perhaps this will encourage me to get out more.

i haven't blogged in a while; i know. let's just say there are artistic difficulties. or something like that. trying to find some inspiration/motivation. trying to figure out what it is in my realm to change in this weird life i am in.

my sleeping pattern is all whacked out because the late night holiday partying. so, i play "call of duty 4: modern warfare" with my youngest brother. i ashamedly admit that i am rather addicted to it.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

god bless us, everyone


music of the season: vince guaraldi's charlie brown christmas album & sufjan steven's christmas singalong CDs. favorite christmas song: wham's "last christmas i gave you my heart". this song also wins for most annoying christmas song, but is sure fun to sing along to. closely followed by this song.

i survived our broomball night with my immune system mostly intact, which is surprising. now on to the family brouhaha. i'm chugging airborne - i'm not totally convinced of it's medicinal qualities, but it's not a bad placebo.

more after the holiday. still in survival mode.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

come lord jesus

i'm getting sick. and with one more youth group christmas event party, and the christmas holiday still to get through. not thrilled about this. i have a sore throat, which is the precursor to other symptoms. trying to head this off - today i ingested probably 5000% of my daily allowance of vitamin c, not to mention several large cups of tea. we'll see.

struggling a bit right now ... for lots of things - the usual things, meaning, connection, inspiration, perspective, bladebladebla. i've got this job that i'm sort of good at, but is not something i enjoy or really feel called to. there seems to be lukewarm support from all ends. a thankless task.

odd that so much of my attitude concerning this holiday is negative. i really could do without all the extra trappings of this time and get down to the essential truth of the time: which is jesus came here to be among us. this sacrifice of power, this unexpected gift, this incredible love - this is what i want to be dwelling in. not rude parents, rude kids, oblivious bosses, mind-numbing commutes, cost of living ... these suck my will to live, to be thankful, to be observant.

of course, it hasn't been all drained out of me, my humor still exists. a featured part of the evening tomorrow: christmas pinatas. also: try this game - go to dollar store. buy tacky baby jesus in the manger figurines. hide said baby jesus figurines around church for kids to find. name the game "find baby jesus." when other staff members express mock horror prior to this game hide all baby jesus figurines around their office as revenge.

but operating in my strengths say 50% of the time... that number just ain't big enough for me. prayers as i discern what comes next.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

holi-daze

last night, in an effort to break out of this funk i've been in, i went to a young adult christmas party at church. i really had to gear up for it because of 1) the aforementioned funk; 2) my natural tendency to introversion and hatred of small talk (and lack of party "wingman" who would promise to leave early with me if it was lame; i miss dave aupps, best wingman ever!); 3) the location of the party was at church, which is the last place i want to be on my day off ("hey, i'm here 6 days a week instead of 5! sweet!"). don't i sound like a lovely person to be around?

despite my grinch-yness, i managed to have a good time. my group won in a crazy gingerbread house building contest. th
in spite a minor wardrobe malfunction - the seat of my pants wore through that night. i had to tie my long sleeve t-shirt around my waist for the rest of the evening. perfect.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

malaise

i have been in a fog for much of the past week, not understading how or why i came to feel this way. then i came across this quote today and it seemed to sum things up quite accurately.

We live today in a world of growing isolation, frantic activity, and desperate violence, where paradoxically, we find ourselves longing for both solitude and companionship, intimacy and community. Some of us may look back to times when life seemed to make sense and relationships were more certain. Whether or not such times ever existed, we nevertheless long today for relationships that acknowledge who we are and who we want to be. We want someone to hear us, to hear our hearts beating, to hear our deepest longings—even longings of which we dare not speak.
- Sondra Higgins Matthaei, Faith Matters

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

this is me being cranky.

well, last night was the first bout of insomnia that i've had in a while. apparently, my avoidance of caffeine does not mean i am impervious to sleeplessness. that sucks.

i also had a lingering headache yesterday that continued in intensity through today. so i stayed home and slept. again, one of those mysterious afflictions that comes and goes. i think i'm okay now.

the thing with insomnia is that it is in those wee hours of the night that my anxieties and angst get the better of me. it is when i ask questions that i can't answer right away, the kinds of questions that have answers that unfold over years and simply by living. i hate those questions. they irritate me. i really really like sleeping; and i'd much rather sleep than think about those questions.

and, as you can see, by the time stamp of this post, i'm still up. oh well.

on another note: i like advent. but i don't like going to 50 different christmas party functions. with 50 different gift exchanges. or planning one of those party functions for a bunch of high schoolers. i am not a party planner.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

contemplations

i went to a taize service last night, my first one. the day i found a service, a high schooler mentioned having to go to a taize service for her religion class at her catholic high school. so i went with her and her friends.

it had been a long time since i had attended a time of worship that incorporated silence, and simple melodies. time was not an issue. i sat before the altar in the darkened chapel for a time, holding a small candle. when i looked closer at the wick, i realized that it was curved into the shape of a question mark. "great, god, haha very funny," i though to myself, not appreciating or understanding the symbolism involved and the implications. mystery sucks sometimes, you know? it takes a lot more work to live with mystery than when you think you've got it all figured out. while i didn't quite agree with the theology of this church; a taize service is something i'd attend again; it's a good antidote for this high speed high pressure culture.

the kids fidgeted, doodling on their bulletins; some things never change. one of them took notes, the rest assumed she'd lend them a copy - some things really never change.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

xmas spirit

i don't usually enjoy the family guy, but the last song in this video made me laugh really hard. it's my new favorite christmas song.

Monday, December 03, 2007

substance free

well, since my troubles with anxiety, i have gone off the sauce. by sauce, i mean caffeine. if you thought i meant beers or other alcoholic beverages, well i practically have since i still lack the requisite drinking buddies. unless you count the stoic canine i took care of last week. he wasn't much on conversation, but sure was a good listener.

i miss caffeine. i have a much easier time falling asleep now, which is wonderful. but it does take me a bit more time to get up to speed in the morning. and those of you that have seen me in the morning know that is an arduous process already. it's almost not morning by then.

to flog my title metaphor a bit more ... i have also felt a bit free of substance lately. in a not good way. as i pass my days if suburban settings, with an upper middle class population, i wonder where the substance, the real nitty gritty of my life is. i long for more real things, for more than trying to speak the truth to a blank-faced student population. we are studying a curriculum put out by international justice mission right now. several times i have been convicted by what is being taught, while kids fidget in their nice clothes and go home in nice cars and claim to have no money. i know because i was/am one of them and have thought the same thoughts. and i want to get away from that. sometimes i think my head will explode with how much i care about what is happening in the world and how apathetic the kids are. the consolation is that i trust God is at work in slow and unseen ways with these kids and how they will live their lives. i'm eating that quote i put in an earlier post about how god moves at three miles an hour. kosuke koyama also mentions in that same book about how God moves so slowly that he took 40 years to teach the israelites a lesson as they wandered in the desert. i read that and thought, "oh great, i'm following this guy too. what did i get myself into?"

Sunday, December 02, 2007


The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 58:11

Saturday, December 01, 2007

out for a stroll

my week of dog sitting in the coldest apartment ever is almost done with. on one hand, it's hard to be tied to the routine of taking the dog out for walks. on the other hand, it's nice to see the neighborhood and scenery. there's the guy who's always doing tai chi at the basketball court, the community garden in a corner of the park, the red house next to the white house with the nice flower garden and so on. the neighborhood reminds me a bit of ol' point grey in vancouver a little bit.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

a non-commuter life

well, i've barely been in my car this week, i walk twice a day because of the dog - i could get used to this. alas, my idea of "cost of living" and my employers idea of "cost of living" don't seem to match up. but in general, i don't know how people afford to live in this area. i digress...

it's not that i don't like dogs. but i took my sleepy eyed dog to the dog park this morning and another dog relentlessly tried to "have relations" with him the entire time. they took turns actually. i am reminded that i enjoy cats, and this is one of the reasons why.

i tried this soda today. besides the appearance resembling a cheap beer, inca cola was a pleasant surprise. it smells like bubble gum, and was a refreshing complement to my carne burrito. interestingly, this peruvian cola is one of the few beverages that outsells coca cola. those wacky peruvians. coca cola finally bought them out, which is a pity.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

grey cup

the grey cup game was played today. saskatchewan rough riders vs. winnipeg blue bombers. the rough riders won. not that anyone in the states cares, or perhaps most of the people in canada. woo, canadian football league!

the last time i watched the grey cup, the bc lions were in it, and i watched the game in my friends' basement. we ate some crazy dip involving velveeta and chili. i also think my friend alec had to wear shades the whole time like ray charles because of his eye surgery. and the football was so bad, we had to watch an nfl game afterwards to remind us of how football was really played. i can't remember who won. those were the days.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

keeping it real

these days i continue to wrestle with vocation and calling and the shape of life. you know, nothing big, really. i wonder when i will feel at home. there are glimpses here and there, and it makes me wonder what i can take or leave in a given situation. nothing quite like talking in such vague terms is there? meh.

this week, i'm taking care of a friend's sad-eyed dog & apartment, cutting my commute time to 5 minutes instead of 35. phenomenal. i might even walk to work one day just because i can.

last week, had a great conversation with the kids who are in the band that help lead the songs for the youth group. i asked them to read mary's song (Luke 1:46-56). which of course, they did not do. pressing on, i talked about how this was an expression of how mary felt about God, and what lyrics did they sing that reflected their feelings? it opened up a time of the kids saying that they couldn't sing a lot of songs because of their own doubt and insecurity and sometimes sadness. we told them a bit about psalms, and lamentations. so next week, we told them to bring in a song, any song, that reflected these things. i was excited about this conversation. maybe too much influence from regent, where we do love our lament there. but if this helps kids to see that they do belong in the church community, that they can tell God about how they really feel, than that's fine by me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

pursuit of trivia

the last few monday nights at a local cafe have become a fun past time. trivia night! friends out there know that i love me some trivia. the format is thus: teams of up to 6, 4 rounds, various themes/media involved in covering trivia of all genres. though in the third round, there is always: 1 Constitution question, and 1 famous redhead question. then in the bonus round, everyone throws down a dollar. 3 questions are asked and all 3 must be answered correctly in order to win the money. if no team gets it, then the pot rolls over to the next week. this past monday, my team (my brother and some of his friends), came within a hair of winning $315 (no one had won in a while). 3 teams actually got all 3 correct (if it had just been 2 that tied, we'd have split the cash). we'd won the regular 4 rounds - which got us free drinks, and some bragging rights. our team name (there's a winner for the best name each week) was "if you don't shop for jesus this friday, then the terrorists have already won."

i know, i'm totally geeking out right now. but there are lots of good laughs, and we try to be the team that heckles the host and hostess the most. pop culture references abound. it also helps that the coffee shop tries to be a good neighborhood coffee shop, with customers of the week and such. plus being green and having a zero-waste policy. and $3 beers (organic - they are so-so).

Sunday, November 18, 2007

life in california

i know you northerners will hate me for posting this, but today i bought lemonade from a kid selling them in front of his house. i asked "isn't this a little late in the year for lemonade?" (not that it mattered, it was country time mix) he responded, "it's never too late for lemonade."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

passing time

well... it's been a while since i wrote anything of substance on here. i find myself fighting the inexorable speed of the current of life here. it's too fast. a healthy dose of perspective was handed to me by a wise coworker in this conversation:
her: how's it going?
me: well... trying to keep up.
her: oh honey, you're always going to be trying to keep up.

and i had to laugh. well, i did, later. at that point in time i wasn't in much of a mood for laughing, but i did manage to take a deep breath and realize that if i missed something the entire universe was not going to collapse around me. i'm not that important. and that is a damn relief. it is hard to face our limits. at the same time, it is comforting to know them. then i don't have to live up to all the high expectations that get built up in my mind. stupid mind, it just gets me into trouble sometimes.

God walks 'slowly' because he is love. Love has its speed. It is a spiritual speed. It is a different kind of speed from the technological speed to which we are accustomed. It goes on in the depth of our life, wether we notice it or not, at three miles an hour. It is the speed we walk and therefore the speed the love of God walks.
-Three Mile an Hour God, Kosuke Koyama

Monday, November 12, 2007

this made my night

for us older folk not in the loop - the song is "crank dat" by soulja boy. original performers don't look like these ballet kids; as if you really need me to explain that little bit to you. the expression on the kid in the front cracks me up. y

Saturday, November 10, 2007

life.

my back still hurts. everytime it starts to feel better, i push it just a little too much and then next morning i'm back where i started, popping a lot of advil.

tomorrow i'm teaching in sunday school on community. i feel a good bit of trepidation whenever i have to teach, mostly because i find all these biblical truths to be profound and complex and i get all tongue tied. i would much rather write about it. so we'll see how it goes.

i could use another retreat.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

health and not so much wealth

so i got a physical and everything checks out fine. beyond the basic exercise more and eat better recommendations. that's good - i don't have like a heart murmur or a brain cloud (joe versus the volcano, anyone? an underrated tom hanks film) or have an unborn twin lodged somwhere in my body. however, that means my minor anxiety feelings are stress/emotionallly/mentally related. it doesn't suprise me, really. i'm just wondering how to deal with this now. besides the obvious and most tempting prospect of moving to any number of cities where good friends live and hanging out with them. i haven't ruled that out yet, though.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

back from retreat

i would like to live in pt. reyes. population: 350.

my time at st. columba retreat center was far too short. i read, i slept, i prayed, i wrote. the retreat center - think rivendell but abut 20 years older and looks more like your grandma's house and less like pottery barn. but i had a desk at the window and a view of tomales bay.

i went into town to try out the bovine bakery, which my friend said was "to die for." man, she was not kidding. i got a cherry chocolate almond cookie and when bit into it i almost passed out because it was so good. damn.

i spent a lot of time asking god what the hell the he thought he was up to. he didn't really answer me, so i just kind of got tired of asking. i guess he'll answer when he feels like it. he is god, after all. my friend pointed out that i am like esther (an example cited by one of our speakers at the recent conference) chosen for "such a time as this." i also think of what the speaker said she prayed, which was "oh lord, please send someone else."

Saturday, November 03, 2007

catching up...

well, friends, more to blog about. life happens at pace that i am finding increasingly unpalatable (that's a fancy shmancy way of saying that i don't like it). i long for a life sans a commute.

last weekend, however, i attended the conference at my church called "HIV & the Heart of God." it was very excellent. if i ever get my act together, i may post more extensive notes on the weekend. maybe. don't hold your breath. the speakers were from india, uganda, malawi, egypt, and malaysia. not often that there is a lineup from these geographical locations. my heart was broken in new ways. then my head almost exploded when i tried to encourage kids to attend the morning seminars in lieu of our regular sunday school program. i was met with poor lies like "we are going to the bathroom first" which really meant "we are going to ditch this and go shopping instead." like i was an idiot or something. the general apathy filled me with rage. and yet... there were other kids that had spent the whole weekend at the conference and seemed genuinely engaged.

i am going on a personal retreat starting sunday. (pictured at right, st. columba church and retreat center) i have missed the regularity of this practice that i had in vancouver and at rivendell. i am incredibly excited about this. i'll let you know how this place is. the place comes highly recommended. and it comes at a very good time, as i have recently had a strange bout with some anxiety/caffeine overload. well the first day i felt anxious, it was because of the caffeine. the second day i didn't have any, and i still felt anxious. this is something new. and troublesome. it would help to know if this is emotional or something physical. the first option wouldn't really surprise me. i have a physical scheduled just to make sure all is kosher.

there was some other stuff too. i'm too sleepy to remember right now. until tomorrow...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

cheesy goodness

i have much to catch up on with this here blog. here goes...

last thursday my brother and i went to a grilled cheese invitational. yeah, you read that right, a grilled cheese contest. oh that link is a bit crass, just so you know. this is the logo. it's amazing and disturbing at the same time - the logo, not the contest (it was amazing) - the girl just looks like she's going to bite off her mom's hand, and she also seems to lack an upper lip. anyhow, the invitational was held at some awesome dive bar somewhere in oakland. there were three possible categories: standard, exotic, and sweet. the tasters/voters stood in line and we would get a small portion of a sandwich, about 3-4 bites worth. i got one called the ol' vermonter - a sharp cheddar with some kind of apple pie filling. it was quite good. my brother on the other hand got some exotic one that involved gorgozola-type cheese with figs. i spit my bite out. he knocked his rating down a few notch because of my reaction.

anyway, the dive bar was awesome - the bartenders were crazy cougar ladies, there was a neon sign for king cobra, the dj was spinning early 90s hits, the cheese grillers wore funny costumes, the organizers/volunteers wore white lab coats. good times. i kind of want to spin this somehow into a possible youth event/fundraiser.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

today's near death experience

i hurt my back last weekend, so i've been packing myself to the gills with advil.
after church today, i pop some in my mouth and then take a swig from my water bottle. then my throat reflexively coughs or chokes or something, i think maybe one of the pills got stuck in my throat. i spew the mouthful water everywhere and then have a 3 minute coughing fit in which i'm not sure if i can breath, but i must be able to since i keep coughing. not fun.
i think i'm okay now, but my throat feels weird.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

dramatis personae

i'm waiting for my laundry to finish drying. i haven't written in a while. lots of internal wrestling in my head that is best done off the internet. difficult, but good, i think in the long run.

it is difficult to get a foothold in these kids' lives. they are overscheduled. the pace of life in this area is speedy and high pressured. if i have a hard time keeping up as an adult then these kids are on some serious overdrive. oh, to be young and adrenalized. add to that the nature of this commuter church and geographical spread of the congregation, i have had to adapt to new ways of connecting with kids.

so i'm on facebook (getting whupped on in scrabulous, i may never be productive again because of this game), and i text message and email. and i make phone calls. this is the closest i have ever felt to being a freakin' telemarketer. i've had several awkward phone conversations. this actually happened when i first started:
me: hey, is ____ home? this is audrey calling from church. i just wanted to say hi.
mom of student: oh sure, hold on a second. (holding hand over phone and yelling) ____, audrey is calling for you!
(muffled hollering, all of which i can hear)
student: who?
mom: you know, from church, the new ____ (name of previous high school director)
student: ... i don't want to talk to her.
mom: you are going to talk to her! she just wants to say hi.
i consider shouting into the reciever that i can STILL HEAR HER! and that i feel so validated by being described in terms of my predecessor. student gets on phone. i say hello, invite to youth group, and am met with monsyllabic answers. end of conversation. it is so absurd that i can't help but laugh at the situation.

or this:
me: hey what's up? would you like to go see this movie tonight?
student: i can't, i'm going to a family dinner with my grandparents.
me: .... oh. okay. (realize that i have run out of things to say)
then a few minutes of painful small talk about school and then i get off the phone. and realize that i feel as nervous as a teenager asking someone out that just got rejected. what the hell?

my friend described the key to her experience substitute teaching as developing a persona and sticking with it to grab the kid's attention. so my persona, which admittedly isn't really that much of a stretch, is that i am awkward. i kind of play it up for them a bit. it's actually kind of fun. it is really an inescapable part of life. i don't really mind looking a tad foolish in front of them; i told one kid, honestly, would you want to see someone who looks like they have it all together in the front all the time? no, you'd just sit there and kind of hate them. and the kids that act cool? it's fun to scandalize them by being goofy around them, as if what i was doing would lower their cool quotient. they deserve it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

i need to stop going into used bookstores. it's getting to be a bit of a problem. i just can't help myself.

correction: it's not that i go into used bookstores. or even that i buy used books. it's that i now have a pile of books on my desk that are all really great but i have not read.

old skool

some friends from regent were in town; i trucked myself over to the other side of the bay to spend a most agreeable but far too short afternoon with them. fall in california is quite nice - vancouver people feel free to curse me out at this point; you're jealous and are right to be. it was a refreshing breath of community that i have not felt in quite some time.

Friday, October 19, 2007

sometimes i feel really popular...


i got this email a little while back:
"I was just playing with Sienna and she picked up a plastic apple like it was a phone and said, 'I wanna talk to audrey.' Then she had multiple conversations with you on broccoli, grapes, and the apple. I was also told to talk to you on fruits and vegs."

Monday, October 15, 2007

out of the woods

well, a high school retreat that actually is a retreat and the kids don't return more tired than before they got there. what a novel idea.

once again, i stress out and then God shows up in such simple and unexpected ways that i wonder why/how i get myself so
worked up in the first place.

teaching times were short and simple; leaving the kids to spend time in conversation with God. we taught about the jesus prayer, looking at different times people came to Jesus, saying "Jesus Christ have mercy on me, a sinner." we also gave the kids lots of time to try out journalling, giving them prompts about praying simply and honestly with God. i found the times of writing very refreshing to me also. i've kind of fallen out of the habit of journalling ever since my thesis project.

we played funny games, did a climbing wall and zipline. watched "monty python and the holy grail." that was especially nostalgic, i remember watching it for the first time in high school and it pretty much altered my life, it was that hilarious. we also had a nap time scheduled in the afternoon. some kids slept for the whole 2 hours, while some got up to play after the first hour. they just do so much during the week; they're that tired. some of them said they wouldn't go on the retreat unless there was nap time again. a good mix of fun and relaxation.

Friday, October 12, 2007

into the woods

well friends, i'm taking 18 kids on a retreat. we'll see i was paying enough attention during my regent years and to my own life in general to impart any wisdom to them. that seems an inaccurate statement. i just hope i am open to how God will lead me in paying attention to these kids.

i feel a little sick - i hate being the planner/logistical person. i mean, i can do it, it just stresses me out to no end. the upside is that i get to plan weird games such as floor hockey with ping pong balls and fly swatters. seriously? this is my vocation right now? ok. so if you're the type that prays, please do so on my behalf.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

guilty pleasure

well, for no good reason at all, i continue to reveal my guilty pleasures. #2 - watching ultimate fighting. that's right, mixed martial arts, cage fighting, whatever you call it.

for this mild addiction, i blame my friend dan. that's him in the video above kicking his brother in the groin - you can even hear me laughing awkwardly in the background. when i was a groomswoman at his wedding, i was invited to the bachelor party (i think partly a move of self-preservation on his part) and this is what they did - i cowered in the corner. ironically, the dude is a pacifist, a position i would also take. in fact, before this night, i could never handle watching ufc with him. i think after basically 24 hours of watching ufc footage, or seeing my friend's buddies beat the crap out of each other, i was brainwashed. yet i continue to watch it on my own, 7 months after the party. i know who some of the fighters are, and some of the fighting styles. i think i'm kind of fascinated at how much punishment a person can take. yeah, i don't really get it. and i do feel guilty. so there you go.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

sigh

i've had better weeks.

yesterday, after a bad night of sleep, i got into a minor fenderbender during my morning commute. it could have been worse; the traffic was flowing jerkily and it happened when i looked over for my bag of cereal to munch on. i was only going about 5 miles an hour. it was a pickup truck, and it wasn't visibly damaged. my little honda fit got scratched a bit and the edge of the hood was banged up. shouldn't cost to much to fit. still, hardly an ideal thing to happen.

the job life has greatly increased in velocity. i don't know how to feel about this. the level of enjoyment fluctuates from day to day, perhaps even moment to moment, which is normal to life in general i guess. i often wonder what god is up to; if i am being incredibly foolhardy, or if i am on the right track.

also, my mom left for buenos aires today for a week. she is going with some friends to tour the city. how 'bout that. i'm more than a little bit jealous.

Monday, October 01, 2007

game help

so i thought of a fun game to play for sunday school next week, and figured that it would be fun to get your input, as most of the readers of this humble blog are theologians of varying degrees. the tentative title is "is that really in the bible?" and am open to a different title.

in any case, the point is to show the kids different quotations and they have to guess if said quote is actually in the bible or not, such as:
"Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me" - Yes, psalm 56:1
"Haste makes waste." nope.
"Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife." - yes, twice actually - Proverbs 21:9, 25:24

you get the idea. it reminds me of the brothers k when everett would shoot back made-up king james-style quotations back at his mother. so comment away, real or made-up verses alike!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

guilty pleasure

at some point during my long unemployment over the past year, i started watching this show. must have gotten sick of all the law and order reruns. like i can actually turn the tv on to law and order and have actually seen the episode already - which is hard to do considering it's like one of the longest running shows on tv right now. so... without a trace... the brief synopsis: a missing persons FBI unit. need i explain further...

the unfolding of a missing person's story each episode is interesting, as are the struggles in the lives of the main characters. the show kind of demands a suspension of disbelief, because they immediately mount a massive manhunt usually before the person has been missing for 48 hours - which is what i always thought was the minimum time before you could report a missing person (i don't know how i know that, i probably got it from another police drama show). and that 16 or more people would be working on a single missing person case. but i keep watching it. perhaps it plays on the thought if you disappeared would anyone notice line of thinking that most people have wondered that at one time or another. i'd be interested in the show searching for a prostitute who has disappeared, or a similar person, because these things happen all the time with little concern from people at large. it would be good to bring this issue more to the front of people's thoughts.

on the other hand, i would love to see a parody in which they get all revved up to find a missing person, only for the person to show up nonchalantly after going out to get a sandwich or catching a movie double billing at the theater down the street. because thinking things like that make me laugh.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

being ordinary

the garrison keillor reading was last monday night. the man spins a good yarn; granted, his meandering way of telling a story - one that goes of on many tangents and somehow fits together under a them by the end of the story - isn't for everyone. but i like it, a straight line between two points maybe the fastest, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the best. and a lot of the time we encounter God while we are stuck on what feels like a tangent in our lives. that last sentence is probably one i could take to heart more as i feel a bit like i am on a bizarre tangential direction in my own life. some days i am more agreeable to it than others. and that is how we pass our days.

i think what i like about keillor is what he stated in the Q&A time when asked about his writing. he said he is fascinated by the "middleness/ordinariness." we live in the middle, in the in-between times. we are ordinary, and find much goodness and things that are extraordinary in the middle of our lives.

he was introduced as a "religious humorist" and a "funny theologian." it made me want to ask who, if any, theologians influenced him in this way. because those adjectives and nouns sure as hell don't get paired together very often. he responded that before any of those things, he is a writer first. the man wields irony and wit gracefully. also he sported red socks and red sneakers with his sober navy blue suit, a trademark of his that i had not known about before.

the other day i was catching up with one of my former co-workers. i miss the bizarre mix of people there a little bit (and certainly not the chaos and drama, though these have been replaced in different ways in my present situation). she asked about my job and i was describing the kids to her and what i do. at one point, she grabbed my arm, and said, "i know these are your people and what not, and i don't want to offend you, but how come you're so normal?" this has not been the first time someone has made a comment like this to me in regards to faith (and there have been plenty of other times where i have not been so "normal" about faith). i never know quite how to respond; though i do take it as a bit of a compliment. it's just something i've been turning around in my head since it happened. because if there's one thing i know i'm good at, it's thinking about stuff for long periods of time.

Monday, September 24, 2007

shake and bake

not a huge football fan, but i can appreciate flashy little plays like this. skip ahead to the :30 second mark to get the closeup of the replay. also the kicker's name is colt david, which only someone from texas could be named, really.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

full disclosure

laid up with heartburn. ugh. i looked up natural remedies online and a lot of them contradict each other. alas. this too shall pass.

today during sunday school, i shared a bit about my life with the kids. against my better judgement, i showed them these pictures.

1) my friend j.t.'s junior prom. i'm a senior in this picture; i didn't go to my own junior prom. my school was big enough that we did seperate formal dances for the juniors and seniors. about a month later i went to my senior ball, but i couldn't find a picture from that. we are awkward.

2) the soccer picture from my final year of playing. note the semi-confused look on my face. i suspect i looked like this much of the time that year. why am i not wearing shin guards? i have no idea. my high school is visible in the back ground. i was also a goalie for most of this season, so i barely even wore my regular jersey.


the kids seemed to appreciate it. i'm all for freely admitting my foibles and letting them see i'm a regular human being. i also read them a section from my arts thesis project - the time i made a total fool of myself in front of 200 people with a "comedy" routine. i think they liked that too.

as for things on this job front, i have agreed to stay at the church through january. they've suspended the search for the rest of this year and made me full-fledged staff. i felt affirmed in the work i have been doing, and i feel pretty okay about this as we continue to figure out this job and calling and such. and i have some stability and hope to be more disciplined about writing. feel free to harass me about that.

i finished eat pray love yesterday. while the author is in italy, she is asked what her word is. example: for the city of rome, it is "sex." after i read that, i've been thinking about what my word would be ('cause it ain't sex, that's for sure). in regards to this job at this point in time, it would be "play." i get to play at this job. i get to be funny and creative. and the kids are great. well, exhausting, but great at the same time. so we'll see...

Friday, September 21, 2007

it was only a matter of time

well, the day has arrived - the canadian dollar is on par with the US dollar.

Monday, September 17, 2007

lake wobegon comes to california

all right, i confess, the first time i was invited to listen to "a prairie home companion," i completely scoffed and refused on the grounds that it sounded cheesy. but i can admit when i'm wrong, and have since got it in my podcast rotation. and i have come to enjoy garrison keillor's dulcet tones - if there ever was a face for the radio, it is keillor's, god love him. the man is hilarious.

so you can imagine my excitement in discovering that he is reading from his new book at the church across the street from where i work next week. always looking to be inspired by other writers.

my job

is to think of things like this...
a giant tic tac toe game on the side of our church building. inspired by hollywood squares.

and this...
i call it super bouncy ball chaos. sorry for the poor quality video. inspired by the sony bravia bouncy ball commercial.
video

and another game called "guess that screen name!" where i made kids guess whose email address was whose. say, like snowboardqueen1000@gmail.com, and so on. one kid's was actually "curlyhairedmenace." haha!

inspired? perhaps. my philosophy is to think of things that would entertain me, so at least one person is having a good time. if they should so happen to enjoy it also, well, that's all the better.

words words and more words

i know,i know, i should be asleep at the time i write this. but my hand hurts because i was playing this stupid video game with my brother and now i'm too annoyed to sleep. fight night round three - it's awful and violent and graphic, and yet i am strangely addicted to it. i am ashamed. and i get so thoroughly enraged when my brother continually beats me.

i know i haven't written in a while. a lot has been happening. first some books i've been working through... i don't know how i found this first book; she's a local writer so i must have run across the name somewhere. anyway, i enjoyed this spiritual memoir, how the mystery of faith and prayer carries crittenden through the vagaries of life - the loss of her brother, a clinical depression, her parents' illnesses. it is a vulnerable story, because how can you not be talking about these things? some people may find it slow, but i found it free of sentimentality and beautifully simple prose.

i'm savoring my way through this book. i got tired of waiting for it to become available at the library, and went ahead and bought it. i blame the aforementioned wonderful used bookstore i work near. even new books are a bit cheaper than the cover price, making it that much harder to resist. anyway, enough people i knew had talked about it that love books as much as i do, so i went ahead and got it based on their praise. and it is funny. i have laughed out loud several times. for all the god-talk, i'd say it's more "spiritual" than it is "christian." i don't mind it so much, but i could see how some might have a problem with that. i'm right in the middle of it right now, but i find her voice refreshing, quirky and real. and i'd hope that whenever i get around to writing a book one day i sound a little bit like her.

so i'm on a memoir kick; i have been since i took that class last spring. seems like a lifetime ago already even though it was just 3 months ago. as i type this entry looking at these two books, i wonder if life is imitating art here... two women, single mid-thirties both writers, come to a bit of a crossroads. it sounds strangely familiar.

and with that we are on to me... school has started and youth programming has picked up. so instead of the 10 kids that showed up in the summer, they're coming out of the woodwork - last sunday there were like 50 kids in the room. and i stood up in front of them and thought, "who the heck are these people?" and i'm sure a lot of them were thinking the same thing about me. last thursday i sat in the back row during our first meeting and the kids were singing and my only thought was, "i'm in trouble now. i'm starting to like them." a part of me didn't want to, to be honest. and i had to laugh at myself, at this absurd situation i found myself in, of being in this room with these particular quirky awkward fragile beautiful teenagers at this particular time. as much as i didn't imagine/desire working at a church or even in youth ministry again, here i am. and i feel funny - like i am funny, frickin' hilarious and about a hundred times happier than i was at my last job (see march-june entries). beginning to make inroads to friendships with kids and other adults. and i say, "all right already God. jeez!"

of course other things nag at me and make it hard to breathe. like this job is mostly feasible as i continue to live with my parents and endure a commute. or if i lived in someone's closet with 5 other roommates - such is the cost of living in this area. and other such questions have a pretty good go at me when i try to go to sleep. ironically this is the highest paying job i've had so maybe i should have paid more attention in my career planning class in high school. at the same time, i say to hell with all that ulcer-causing crap. such are the things that keep me up at night. wondering. praying. waiting and seeing. always with the waiting and seeing. i'll probably read this tomorrow and be horrified at these half formed thoughts and delete them. or maybe not. but sweet oblivion calls for now...

Friday, September 14, 2007

but i still love technology, always and forever

a screen shot from today's ichat session with lara and sienna. sienna is practicing her academy awards acceptance speech with one of jeff's old soccer tropies. they grow up so fast, folks. please disregard my head in the corner.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

poetry as insurgent art

i work 2 blocks away from my favorite used bookstore, which is dangerous. i'm' going to have to seriously regulate my visits there. anyway, i saw this poem being handed out. it's by Lawrence Ferlinghetti who, apparently is a san francisco/beat poet icon. he's doing a reading next week. i'm there.


Poetry as Insurgent Art
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I am signaling you through the flames.

The North Pole is not where it used to be.

Manifest Destiny is no longer manifest.

Civilization self-destructs.

Nemesis is knocking at the door.

What are poets for in such an age? What is
the use of poetry?

The state of the world calls out for poetry to
save it.

If you would be a poet, create works
capable of answering the challenge of
apocalyptic times, even if this
means sounding apocalyptic.

You are Whitman, you are Poe, you are
Mark Twain, you are Emily Dickinson, and
Edna St. Vincent Millay, you are Neruda
and Mayakovski and Pasolini, you are an
American or non-American, you can
conquer the conquerors with words.

If you would be a poet, write living
newspapers. Be a reporter from outer space,
filing dispatches to some supreme
managing editor who believes in full
disclosure and has a low tolerance for
bullshit.

Friday, September 07, 2007

i need a social life

because will ferrell makes me laugh that much

and we keep playing this for whoever wanders into our office. (once josh mcdonald talked like this for a whole evening at the pub and i laughed every time. oh the memories)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

good storytelling

right. so a few entries back, i wanted your thoughts on "commuter church." i find the concept interesting, as i have been attending and now work at such a place. for sure, this is not the ideal situation for me... however if i were to attend a local church in the town i grew up in, i would surely put out my eyes in frustration. 30 minutes in a car each way, is also not ideal, but gets me closer to people that are closer to how i see things. there are good things happening there, and has its drawbacks like all churches. it's just all those darn people in them.

so... i've been wondering how to pass the time in the car without being blinded by road rage or totally spaced out. i borrowed a cd to learn italian - random, yes, but i think italian sounds cool. it started off easy, like "Buonasera/Good evening" then about 3 seconds later "excuse me but could you tell me how to get to the nearest hotel with a balcony?" not so helpful. i was not inspired.

what has kept me laughing and faintly inspired to keep writing/thinking are the podcasts on my ipod: this american life (which my brother claims is the only thing people listen to when they talk about npr), a prarie home companion's news from lake wobegon (i'm not from the midwest, so this is a new discovery), NPR religion. an new addition is WNYC's Radiolab, on the recommendation from this american life (honestly, i'd do whatever ira glass told me). radiolab is like a more science-y TAL but just as interesting. anyway, listening to them has given me an appreciation for the oral/aural tradition of story telling. perhaps another avenue for writing? we'll see.

anyway, back to radiolab, i'd recommend the june 7th podcast, "memory & forgetting." there's interesting stuff about how we remember things, experiments with lab rats concerning memory, just how subjective/fluid our memories are, and so on. the most intriguing story is towards the end, about englishman clive wearing. a gifted conductor & musicologist (though i don't even really know what a musicologist is) fell ill to a virus that affected his brain and memory. seen the film memento? this guy is living it (well, without the shooting of people). his wife deborah, would visit him, and he'd greet her as if he hadn't seen her in years (seeing her and conducting music are the only things that he has any vague recollection of) then she'd go home and there would be 20 messages from him asking to see her, in each message he is unaware of the other messages he'd left. holding a conversation with him is difficult. the man is not anchored in time; life starts over every few minutes. hard to imagine being him, or being married to him. amazingly she is still with him and wrote a memoir about it - "forever today." go have a listen. i'm tempted to get the book too. what are we without our memories?

tongue in cheek

i remember about this time 2 years ago (how time flies) with my crazy dreadlocked housemate, sitting around our back deck trying to come up with funny ideas for a certain student publication.

God's Lesser Known Preferential Options
Diet Coke
Boxers
Gay Marriage
Islam
the short
the serial comma?


I'll leave you guy guess which ones were mine and which one's were dan's. in poor taste perhaps, though if you know dan, he never has much truck with that kind of thing (good taste, i mean, have you seen the guy's t-shirts? really!) - and i kind of wanted to rattle some cages to see what would happen. besides, random theological humor doesn't really have legs outside that crowd (and sometimes regular theology doesn't either). we never ended up using this, which was fine since i had enough ruffled feathers to deal with then.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

on brevity

i notice that my sporadic posts of late have been on the short side (opening the door for height jokes here, people). changing circumstances (rather that unsatisfying circumstances have NOT changed), a challenging/new/extroverted job has left me with little energy left to write. this frustrates me to no end, thus consuming more precious energy.

here is where you are wondering if i am going to shut this blog down, leaving nary a ripple on the internet. no, no, that is not the case. i don't know if my brain is atrophying or what. if you all out there might leave me some suggestions on what you would like me to write about, that might help. comment away.

har-de-har-har

"where joy and terror meet ... that's where religion begins."
-garrison keillor (i know he's been around for a while, but i just started listening to his podcasts - funny stuff)

Friday, August 31, 2007

occupational hazard

in "relational ministry" (i put it in quotes because i find it so odd to be paid to hang out with people, but what the hey), i find a lot of my time with people spent over meals, snacks, coffee, jamba juice, frozen yogurt, you name it. i feel sick.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

still around

well, after the last couple of posts, you may be wondering if i have jumped off a bridge or not.

i'd sort of be wondering that too.

so there isn't much to say besides that. my future is no clearer than when i last wrote in the throes of a meltdown. but i do remember that i don't/can't know everything. something that is patently obvious, yet really easy for me to forget. and there are moments when i able to enjoy and appreciate them for what they are. and life rolls on...

Monday, August 27, 2007

the other side of the tracks

a kind and observant friend today spoke truth into my life. she saw and described my life with such accuracy that i was bowled over.

it's been a year roughly since i graduated and landed back in california. i am still unsettled. and that is difficult.

and that's all you get. what, you thought i'd bare my soul on here? pshaw.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

well worth repeating

i am obsessed with flight of the conchords. i posted a video of theirs a while back, and i'm doing it again. they have a show on hbo (also viewable on itunes and youtube). check it out. it's hilarious. they do awkward humor very well, and they also rock, and exploit every rock music cliche in their videos. they're making laugh just thinking about them (which i need a lot these days). this here video, one of my favorites, is called "most beautiful girl in the room."

woohoo!

I am addicted to tv. it is sad,yes. however, i don't care.

Kristen Bell (aka Veronica Mars) to join cast of Heroes.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

concepts

let's play the free association game.

ready?

commuter church.

please record your responses in the comments. no, really.

Another reason to visit the Bay area besides the fact that I live here. Seriously, though, it's worth attending.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

my saturday afternoon highlight

apple video ichat







+
kelley fam


__________________________________________________________
dance party/fun conversation/laughs


suck on that PCs.

Friday, August 17, 2007

fingertips on the pulse of today's youth

the good thing about hanging out with high school kids, again is that they let you know about things like this...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

glory days

had a delightful phone conversation with these two screen door dancers today. it did my heart much good to laugh over old jokes, reminisce over our glory days and hear of their lives in diaspora. now if you could just click on the "red kettle" link there at the right side of the screen, it may encourage/guilt her into updating her blog. do check out a pretty cool solar powered oven there.

summer is winding down. though winding down doesn't seem like the right word because the fall season brings more activity and busy-ness. while i like fall, i don't usually enjoy the ramping up of things to do. especially when my future is more uncertain than it usually is when the word "interim" is the first word in my lengthy job title.

friends, you know from being my friends and reading this blog that i am a writer. i want to keep writing but have not been good at all about setting time aside to do so, other than the slapdash entries on this blog. if you could help to keep me accountable and ask me if i am writing, what i am writing, and tell me i'm fabulous that would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, August 13, 2007

this is true...

i watched a curriculum for evangelism training today and it was so cheesy, i actually experienced chest pains.

truancy

yesterday i was sitting in the back at church. not the back row in the sanctuary, but the pew in the foyer, where latecomers and moms with babies. 3 high schoolers squirmed next to me. they'd ditched the church service all summer, but somehow i managed to sit with them before they could make a getaway. i felt a little bit like a sheepdog, and i laughed to myself, while straining to hear what was going on in the service. they whispered to each other, ate cookies someone had brought in a large ziploc bag. i could tell they didn't quite know what to do.

when one of them finally let out a loud sigh of exasperation, and mumbled about how her life was being sucked away, i turned to them and asked, "do you guys want to get out of here?" their eyes widened in surprise. and we ducked out the back door, arm in arm. they were so relieved. we found another girl who was also skipping the service but at least reading "the screwtape letters" and dragged her along with us. we sat in the prayer garden and talked - it was the longest i had talked to these kids all summer (it's been a bit of a lonely summer for me, ministry-wise). i mostly listened. asked them about why they didn't like the service - "because it's BORING!" "i hate hymns!" "i want to pray my own way, not what they already wrote in the bulletin." i understood - these were answers that i would have given earlier in my life.

it was a good morning. i was glad to spend it with them and i took more than a little bit of pleasure in doing something different. it is interesting to consider how one moves from this position of a questioning, restless teenager to a deeper place of faith (and still being questioning and restless there too). i think this job, more than anything else, entails being a listener, being a witness (in the sense of being an observer not in the evangelist sense), and being present.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

2 things about vancouver...

1) babies as big as skyscrapers. jack humphries, ready to take on gozilla.
2)bubble tea that makes your teeth hurt. (yes, i am a willing bubble tea drinker now. i make exceptions for my brothers and good friends.)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

whoa

my wallet is in spokane. it shall be returned to me shortly. thanks alaska/horizon airlines! i'm guessing that it got jammed between the wall and my seat.

since i mentioned numbers yesterday, this very post is my 500th post on this blog. hooray for procrastination/one of the few opportunities for me to write semi-regularly!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

dammit

during the last leg of my long journey yesterday, i appear to have misplaced my wallet. i'm annoyed, especially after calling to cancel various cards, and schedule a dmv appointment for another license. plus i really liked that wallet. it was cute. and i had my lucky toonie in it. actually it's not really lucky, i just like canadian money.

at this point if i found the wallet now, i don't know if i'd be annoyed or relieved.

on other fronts, this blog got 10000 hits today. thank goodness for internet stalkers.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

the in between time

i have spent entirely too much time in airports of late. i am presently spacing out in the D terminal of the seattle/tacoma airport. why does seattle get top billing here? why not tacoma? is it for alphabetical reasons? what a bum rap.

however, when time in the airport means i get to spend time (albeit far too brief) with friends that are like a breath of fresh air, then it is worth it. the goodbyes arrive all too soon. hence, i look like a teary eyed disney character. or japanimation? hm... anyway, photobooth is fun. i have to go to work tomorrow, which is not as fun. granted, my job is more fun than other jobs so i'm not complaining too much.

also, i am sorely tempted to move back up to the pacific northwest. is that weird?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

where the rubber meets the road

Check out these Sojourners articles on one woman's search for a simple article of clothing that is ethically made and environmentally safe: Part 1 and Part 2. it's about as hard as you might guess, well, definitely harder than going to the mall. but it reminds me that there is always a choice. i admit that much of the time i am a lazy consumer, and like to save a buck when i can, without really knowing how the products i eat or wear are made. and it is easy to feel pushed into this lifestyle because well, everyone else is doing it, and all the media and cultural message that bombard me champion it. but there is always a choice in what you do. and you make small step here and there, and work towards the better way. oh, and there's a link in there worth mentioning again if you don't read the article - Rawganique, sustainable and ethically made clothing. for you vancouverites, they're based on denman island, somewhere up by you. they do have oddly glamorous models, so perhaps that lifestyle is more beneficial that one would first expect.

sometimes SNL still makes me laugh

i find jamba juice stores to be disturbingly perky places.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

the same old dance

periodically, this issue comes up. people are homeless all the time for many reasons, but it's only until they begin to encroach on others that people get motivated to deal with what's going on. the city of san francisco is cracking down on the homeless camps in golden gate park, the article is here. i listened to various people debating it this morning on the radio as i drove to work. and i'd heard these arguments before ... only one person addressed the root causes of homelessness while the others were all for pushing them out of the park, to somewhere else, it didn't matter. i was sad.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

i'm awesome


31 years ago tomorrow, i was born. and the world got a little less boring and a little more sarcastic/weird.
you lucky people.

call me! nine-two-five-three-two-four-five-zero-five-zero. please do not be an internet stalker.

Friday, July 27, 2007

doh!

went to the 10:30 am showing with my brother. gotta love summer days, huh? i guess unless you have a regular job. sorry. anyway, think a supersize simpsons episode, only they get away with more not having to deal with tv censors. funny stuff.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

flex time

had another youth group meeting tonight. it's been a small turnout this summer, but i don't mind. i rather like it. think i've gotten past messy gross chaotic games, even if it is what i grew up on. though i did buy 2 bags of marshmallows to play some twist on traditional dodgeball - don't ask, it was a game i bummed off some youth games website (i seem to recall throwing these around for fun in someone's living room not to long ago... haha! good memories).

the kids seemed more interested in eating them, and then an adult leader busted out her girl scout skills, building a log cabin/teepee structure in the fire pit out of kindling she gathered around our meeting place in the park. one of the kids and i dashed to my car only to discover that cigarette lighters aren't standard in cars anymore (in a harebrained scheme to light a twig and run back to start the fire), but then we bummed matches from some dude smoking in his car across the street. and voila - we had ourselves a little marshmallow roast. every week before youth group i worry about how to spend this time with high schoolers, and then things just seem to take care of themselves. thank god from whom all blessings flow, eh?

taking a page from ignatian practices, i shared for a little bit about how God provides for us, only we just don't notice it. so i made a little booklet for them to write down the favorite part of their day for the next 6 days. who knows if they'll use it - but i think this is something i'd like to try again with them.

today's "what the hell?" moment

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

acclimating

summer is kind of an awkward time to start a job. people are in and out all over the place, it's hard to keep track. for instance, my immediate supervisor person has only actually been in the office with me for about 3 days of the past month that i've worked here. it's all right i guess, no major catastrophes to report. i just feel a little lost or wondering if there's something i should be doing blablabla little things like that. a low grade of frustration i say. my two co-workers are at a wedding or leading a camping trip, so i am all by my lonesome. also, when your supervisor is unreachable by any forms of communication (and am still learning how to communicate when face to face) then that makes it hard to ask for time off to go to weddings and such. this is a higher grade of frustration.

kids appear intermittently also. things like relationships start slowly, yes? so i am patient. i already tripped and fell down in front of several of them last week at youth group, so you know, we've got that. as a start, i read this book...
and i thought it was quite good. moving past the "entertaining kids into accepting the gospel" yaconelli suggests old spiritual practices to enrich both youth and youth leaders lives and encourages simple ways of engaging with kids. i was very encouraged by the book.

Monday, July 23, 2007

catching up

i don't know what it is with airplane travel and me lately. after spending a quick 2 great days with my dear friend katie in seattle last week (her wise husband flew me up there on his frequent flier miles for her birthday - we had a barbecue on a west seattle beach and also saw patty griffin play at the woodland park zoo), i had to return to california on a 6 am flight.

i came to instant wakefulness when james came into the living room and said, "audrey we overslept. it's 4:48." so there was a very very slim chance to make the flight if we broke some land speed records. we jumped in his pickup truck and took off. about 3 minutes down the freeway, james said, "i hope we have enough gas." about 1 minute later, we discovered that we did not. we coasted down the exit ramp, and managed to roll 3 or 4 blocks to an intersection where the gas station was on the far corner. "please turn green, please turn green" james prayed. but it stayed red and the engine died right there. leaving me to stay with the truck (what else was i supposed to do? i was still trying to figure out where i was), he ran over there and bought a plastic gas can. i watched him run out of the store and up to a pump. he stood there for a few minutes and then ran to the next pump. i wondered what he was doing. he ran back inside, came back out and filled the can. he ran back over, emptied it into the tank. once we got rolling again, he explained that the annoying quirk he discovered about his credit card is that it doesn't work before 6 am. stupid credit card. at this point, i had conceded defeat and was talking about getting onto another later flight. james, a seasoned business traveller, insisted that there was still a chance and that it might be hard to get onto another flight. at that point he took the wrong freeway exit - i can only guess because of the early hour and the amount of drama that had transpired already. so we were lost for about 5 minutes before he discovered the road back to the airport.

now i really think that it's a lost cause, but i jumped out and rushed to the the self check in counter anyway. the agent said to try to print my boarding pass anyway, and it miraculously does. i then ran over to the security line which is, of course, long. i tried to cajole the first-class short line guy to let me through, but he said i needed an airline agent to escort me. i ran back to the agent i talked to but he said there weren't any agents to spare. "thanks for nothing, buddy" i thought and trudged back to the line for the common people. i went through faster than i expected - at this point the plane is boarding and i started getting stressed out because i'm so close. as i go through the x-ray machine, they scan my backpack twice, and what am i going to do, get mad at them? then i just miss the tram to the north terminal. 2 minutes tick by and i'm sure the gate is closed. i get on the next tram and then sprint from the doors, up the escalator to my gate. it is somehow still open. it is 5:50 at this point. "miss molina?" the agent states. this is not a question really, i am the last passenger and who else would be running up in such a frenzy? incredulous that i made the flight, i dash down the jet way and collapse into my seat, and out of breath.

immediately, the stewardess said on the intercom, "we'll be taking off shortly folks, the door was closed and we had to reopen it again for passengers, but now we are ready to go." re-open the door? i thought once the door was closed for a flight, it stayed closed. the agent must have called and opened it for me. unbelievable!

no one should have to experience that much drama before 6 am.

Friday, July 20, 2007

holy crap

my copy is in the mail. i'm prepared not to sleep a whole lot until i've finished all 700+ pages.

i remember when i read the first book in the summer of 2000. i was still living in washington dc and bit detached from social circles where one would hear about harry potter. when i was helping coach a rowing camp that week, i noticed that one of the other coaches had his head buried in the book the whole afternoon. finally i borrowed the first book from my friend and read it all in one night. i read the following books in quick succession. i am happy to see that books are still capable of catching people's attention and capturing their imagination. in particular, i like seeing kids grow up with the books as they have been published. i am sorry to see the series come to an end. it's been a good run.

how to irritate me

when picking up your child from youth group, tell me jovially that you really view all this as "free babysitting. and that if you happen to mention that God stuff too that's all well and good." and then something to the effect of the kids learning to be nice.
seriously? come on, man. if you think that is what the church/youth ministry is for, no wonder the church is floundering in north america.

UPDATE: after talking to the jr. high director, we tried to figure out who it (since i couldn't really remember) and determined that this dad was most likely joking. phew.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

it's business time

apologies for the lack of posts, for those who care. i heard this song on the radio a while back, but i didn't find out who sang it until now. quite possibly the funniest guys to come out of new zealand. "Business Time" by Flight of the Conchords. they're good fun.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

hot stuff

good pals + fun city + housesitting an amazing house = summer fun.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

"amusement" parks

we went to great america earlier this week. i think there are two groups of people - who, when they hear about roller coasters - one group says, "yeah! awesome!" and the other group rolls their eyes. i am of the latter, but for the sake of kids, i will ride them. roller coasters used to freak me out when i was younger. and now, well now, i think they give me whiplash.

seriously, i have been popping the advil and feeling stiff since then. yesterday i had a migraine. after our first ride, iwas pretty sure most of my brain had been pushed to the back of my skull, so i'm sure that had something to do with it. of course, i'm sure it didn't help that i really enjoy going on the bumper cars and schooling kids. sometimes i get competitive. i like trash talking. two thoughts prevail: 1)i'm getting paid for this! haha! and 2) i'm too old to get thrashed at great america. hmmm... a conundrum.

on one hand i enjoy the shared experiences with kids in this setting. and on the other hand, i wonder what the heck is up with the concept of roller coasters and "amusement" parks. i find them unnatural. we're that starved for "thrills"? we need a 30 second ride to get our adrenaline going and for what? i ate a funnel cake (because hey, when was the last time i had a funnel cake) and wisely chose to avoid being spun around at high speeds for a while.

anyway, all that being said, i still like being with kids. they make me laugh. in a good way.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

?

it's raining right now.
in california.
in july.

excuse me while i go check on the temperature in hell.

Monday, July 09, 2007

more than meets the eye

well, i saw this movie yesterday with my little brother. it's been a long time since i was so childishly excited while anticipating and also while the movie. i felt about 9 years old again i know now the show was just a ploy for hasbro to get kids to buy these toys; and that this movie was great product placement for gmc/pontiac, but it was nice to enjoy the nostalgia nonetheless. as we drove home afterward, i kept expecting the cars around us to transform into giant robots. no such luck. i'm going to have to go dig up the vhs tape of the animated transformers movie that i bought for my brother one christmas not too long ago. when he dropped his soundwave figure into the creek and it got stuck under this footbridge at the park when we were little, i crawled under there to get it for him. i was completely drenched and dirty but we both liked that toy a lot.

other cartoons that are bedrock to the mythology of my childhood (in no particular order of importance):
voltron
g.i. joe
robotech (characters actually died in this series, which was mindblowing at the time)
teenage mutant ninja turtles (this one is borderline, as i was already in jr. high at the time, but i liked watching it with my brothers)

cartoons that should not be made into live action films:
the smurfs
rainbow brite
beverly hills teens (which for the life of me i can't remember what any of the episodes were about even though i watched it often)

other than that, i've been hanging out with attention hungry pets and watching without a trace reruns. some crazy canadian friends were down here to visit (pictures to come) and they didn't run away screaming to the north during the 4th of july, so that was good.

i remain the friendliest person around the church because i'm not sure if i haven't met this person yet, met them already and forgotten, or met them before and remember what they look like but not their name. blech. i have to credit my time at the restaurant with helping me to be friendly and extroverted. the awkward newness is wearing on me and i am ready to get to know people better.

as i talked to kids before church one morning, i was distracted by another conversation. when i turned around again, they were halfway across the patio, ditching the service. instead of the regular youth sunday program this summer, we are encouraging them to attend the main service. it is not something they are taking to right away, and they usually ditch when this happens. it makes me wonder at what age you transition kids from sunday school to being in the service. or if we should have a separate high school program on sunday mornings at all. or how to help kids to understand that they are part of a larger community than their youth group. after all, what happens when you are too old to go to youth group?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

summer rules

summer means:
long evenings sitting outside with dear friends drinking beer making s'mores (weird taste combination, i know) and laughing.
seeing the fog magically roll over the golden gate bridge and san francisco skyline.
meeting funny high schoolers that dance jigs randomly and stuffing them into your car to go get frozen yogurt when only 12 of them show up to youth group.

i like summer a lot.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

kids these days

i am trying to come off nervous energy, drinking too much coffee earlier today, and my sugar high from eating greasy pizza for group dinner and a milkshake from the diner we went to after our first meeting. eating while hanging out will be a tricky road to navigate. i feel sick.

but on the whole, i feel good having met some kids and can now gauge the level of energy/group dynamic. the kids wanted to play capture the flag instead of ultimate frisbee, and i complied but then remembered that i hadn't played capture the flag in forever so i didn't know any of the rules. whoops. but they organized themselves for the most part, i stood back and laughed. i remember how tense i felt at my last go-round in youth ministry (my first stint), wanting everything to go smoothly, for everyone to be quiet, hoping that everyone would have a GREAT time. it's a wonder i didn't get an ulcer then (and, praise be to God, i still had a good time then, too). this time, i know when i'm starting to get worked up like that, and chill out. i can't believe i get paid to hang out with kids (again). looking forward to see how the my time at regent has changed how i approach youth ministry. for sure i don't feel like i have to compete to get kid's attention by entertaining them. and i have always enjoyed just relating to kids. when the future is settled a bit, i look forward to practicing hospitality with them in my home (wherever that is - definitely closer than the 30 minute commute i have presently). i look forward to having more in depth conversation once we know each other a little better.

gonna be a crazy summer!

curses

every so often i forget that when i drink too much coffee, it makes me crazy.

this is one of those times.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

breathless

well, i've been meaning to write sooner, but everytime i've sat still, i've fallen asleep pretty quickly. last night i got home at 8, fell asleep watching gilmore girls rerun, woke up at 10:30 to put on my pajamas and didn't wake up again until 8:30 the next morning. and i could use a few more nights like that.

the wedding to end all weddings
my cousin's wedding was lots of fun. my brother is uploading everyone's photos on flickr - i think he's up to at least 1000 now. when you've got a big family and everyone's got a digital camera, it's no surprise. i'll filter through them and add them to this album of my own pictures. if you're wondering about the wedding location, it was at the palace of fine arts in san francisco, near the marina district, crissy field and the presidio. absolutely beautiful - i remember being in high school talking about wanting to get married there. only the place is a freakin' wind tunnel, and that was on a sunny/warm day in san francisco. nevertheless, it was a good time thankfully the ceremony was short, but my insanely punctual immediate family -read:my mom- insisted we get there early, so we were there a full 90 minutes before the wedding was scheduled to start and on top of that my cousin the bride was 30 minutes late. i couldn't feel my legs after a while. but my new cousin-in-law sure can rock the white tuxedo.

the reception was at a hotel near union square. the band was a beatles cover band that my cousin and her fiancee had seen on their third date - she's obsessed with the beatles. it's safe to say that this was the first wedding i danced to "strawberry feilds forever." it's not easy. but they were lots of fun. we danced a lot, some drank a lot, and we had a good time. went for burritos at 1 am and then called it a night.

the next day everyone came over to our house for a barbecue. i don't think we've had that many people in our house before. i made large amounts of salsa. we ate a lot, and then we cousins walked to the neighborhood school and played some mad hoops. if you're wondering about all the basketball jerseys, it was a flash of inspiration as people started changing and borrowing clothes from my brothers. yes, those jersey belong mostly to my youngest brother and maybe 2 by my middle brother. madness. before we started, i found a bunch of playground balls in the storm drain and for about 10 minutes it was utter chaos of what we called "ultimate dodgeball." i couldn't stop laughing. my team lost. this sets a mean precedent for the next time we play basketball which is totally happening at christmas. good stuff. then when we got home some guy who i don't know how he's related to us kept singing "joy in my heart" and then some songs in tagalog. we are insane.

i've started my job this week. met a few high schoolers, talked about fantasy baseball with the jr. high guy, set up my voicemail, figured out how to use a pc again. mostly twiddled my thumbs since the youth pastor was gone chaperoning the youth choir trip. but he got back yesterday, and now i have stuff to do. today i called 37!!!!!!!!!! freshmen to remind them to come to our first summer meeting. this is the closest i have ever come to feeling like a telemarketer and it didn't feel good. but i put on my cheesy phone voice and got through it. cold calls make me sweat. tomorrow night is our first summer meeting. i'm sure i'll be sweating a little bit then too. i'd appreciate the prayers, friends. things are rolling pretty quickly right now.